East Midlands the seventh English freeport to get the green light from government

Mon 3 Apr 2023
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Freight being loaded onto air cargo plane

East Midlands Freeport has become the latest freeport in England to receive official government approval, it was announced at the end of last week.

The only in-land site announced so far, it encompasses an area around East Midlands Airport, Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station and East Midlands Parkway.

The government has said that the freeport will generate more than 28,000 high-quality jobs in the region, as well as millions of pounds in new investment, particularly in the automotive, space, and satellites sectors.

Levelling up

“The East Midlands has a thriving manufacturing sector and we want to capitalise on those strengths while also developing new green growth industries,” said Levelling Up minister Dehenna Davison.

East Midlands Freeport chair, Nora Senior CBE, said:

“As the only inland freeport in the UK, East Midlands Freeport is a hugely exciting and ambitious project designed to bring lasting benefits to the region in terms of jobs and economic growth.

“Its unique location at the heart of the UK will present opportunities to create trade hubs to drive green innovation as well as support investment in research and development.”


The site will receive £25m in seed funding from the government and businesses will be encouraged to invest in it through tax incentives.

Space Park Leicester which has been confirmed as a customs site operator for the freeport, according to Leicester Live.

However, the BBC reports concerns from local residents about the impact of some of the planned developments – particularly plans for giant distribution warehouses on the edge of Diseworth in Leicestershire.

Magnificent 7

The East Midlands Freeport is the seventh to be given government approval in England, meaning Humber is the only site in development to not yet open for business.

Since the first eight freeports in England were announced by the government in 2021, four further sites have been declared: Firth of Forth and a site in Inverness and Cromarty Firth in Scotland; Anglesey and the ‘Celtic Freeport’ comprising of Port of Talbot and Milford Haven in Wales.

The seven sites to have been granted government approval in England are:

  • East Midlands Airport
  • Felixstowe and Harwich (Freeport East)
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Plymouth
  • Solent
  • Thames (including London Gateway Port and the Port of Tilbury)
  • Teesside